After five months and 174 witnesses, the prosecution has finally wrapped up in the Peterson trial. While it’s clearly a circumstantial case, prosecutors hope jurors will be convinced that it would not be “reasonable” to believe that anyone other than Scott Peterson killed Laci.
In somewhat chronological order, prosecutors took jurors from the days and months before Laci disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002, to mid-April when her body and that of their unborn son washed up on the shore of the San Francisco bay, almost 90 miles from their home but in the same area where Peterson said he was fishing that day.
Much of the most powerful evidence is Scott Peterson’s own words in the weeks after Laci disappeared.
Prosecutors tried to show he hardly behaved like a heartbroken husband. His girlfriend Amber Frey testified about their affair, and about receiving roses and champagne while Laci was seven and a half months pregnant.
After Laci disappeared, Frey even recorded their conversations as Peterson continued to try to woo her.
Peterson did not lie just to Amber, witnesses testified Peterson told them he was golfing, not fishing, the day Laci disappeared.
Jurors heard him on tape seemingly lying to family members and reporters, for example, about his baby’s nursery. Peterson said it was too painful for him to go into his baby’s nursery, but investigators later found it was being used for storage.
As for physical evidence, prosecutors introduced a hair consistent with Laci’s found wrapped around pliers in Peterson’s new boat. And detectives testified about cement that could have been used to weigh Laci’s body down in the water.
Finally, this week, police witnesses told jurors about arresting Peterson 30 miles north of Mexico. He had changed his appearance, had $15,000, and survival gear.
The problem for the prosecutors? The defense was able to use almost all of the important prosecution witnesses to help their case. The defense lawyers highlighted police mistakes, and suggesting other innocent explanations for much of the evidence. They also reminded jurors that Peterson always denied any involvement in the crime, even in his most personal moments with Amber Frey.